Electronic devices causing many teen car crashes

It’s common knowledge that more teenagers die because of car accidents than any other means, and a recent study attempting to delve into the factors indicates that the use of electronic devices while driving is distracting teenagers from their driving.

More than any other single factor, the use of cellphones, smartphones, and other devices capable of sending and receiving text messages distract a teen driver’s attention away from watching the road. Obviously, this is not altogether surprising.

The study utilized almost 25,000 short video films of teen drivers. Of the approximately 7,500 video excerpts selected for examination, the majority of teens were 16 years old, but some were 17 and 18 years old.

According to the Huffington Post, researchers found that nearly 7 percent of all video footage examined displayed teen motorists using electronic devices while behind the wheel. This included text messaging and sending or receiving text messages. Electronic devices were not the sole culprit distracting teen drivers, however. Other common distractions while driving include drinking, eating, reading, and even turning around while in the driver’s seat to speak to passengers, leading them to take their eyes off the road.

As it turns out, age is a factor. As teen drivers grow older and become more experienced at driving, they apparently double their rate of use of electronic devices over what younger teenage drivers engage in.

For some reason, boys were far more likely than female drivers to engage in the risky behavior of turning around while driving, according to researchers. Female drivers, however, are twice as likely to use phones for talking or texting while driving.

The study clearly identifies some problems. Now the question is, “what do we do about them?”

Source: Huffington Post, “Distracted driving: Electronics are number-one cause of distraction for teen drivers,” Marissa Piazzola, March 26, 2012